I’ve never considered myself a great cook but I do believe the old adage – where there’s a will there’s a way!
My husband gave me Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking many years ago – I will not say how many – no reason to date myself. One of my life’s goals was to attempt her Coq au Vin. The problem is I never have the exact ingredients on hand for any Julia recipe but I knew I had the basics for creating a delicious dish and while it wouldn’t be perfect, it would be worth trying.
Julia’s Coq au Vin calls for chicken with the skin on which is always best for flavor but I used what I had on hand which was skinless chicken breasts cut into halves. I also did not have the Cognac so I substituted with a worthy 12 Year Red Breast Single Malt Irish Whiskey – which was a great addition. And where she used Chianti or Beaujolais I used Paisano jug wine.
What starts as a rich red sauce will finish as a rich brown gravy once everything is done and you add the thickening of butter and flour.
I managed the flambé by myself! After the bacon was cooked and the chicken was added to the olive oil and browned nicely I poured on the whiskey, then the wine and lit the match.
Once it flamed I shook the heavy pan with my left hand, grabbed my iphone in the right hand and took the picture. I was glad my husband didn’t come into the kitchen right then because the flames were quite high as you can see! Husbands never take well to the possibility of damage to their remodel work.
Julia calls for pearl onions – I used a giant, yellow onion cut into thick slices and added a little more bacon. The onions and mushrooms were cooked separately in their own olive oil and butter. And no, I did not crowd the mushrooms!!
All in all the dish was fantastic and delicious and everyone enjoyed it. Of course the kitchen was a mess because, while this dish is not terribly difficult, it does require a lot of pans and heavy drinking. No, I just threw that last part in to see if you were reading.
So give it a try! You have nothing to lose, except maybe your eyelashes if your flambé gets away from you.
You can easily find Julia’s recipe on the web but it’s better to own these wondeful cookbooks! At the very least you’ll impress your friends just having them casually laying open on your counter.
The Coq au Vin is in Volume 1. Bon Appétit!